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Seeking a feedback on this build

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December 27, 2010 5:06:12 PM

I've never built PC myself before but have been using them for 20 years and replaced all components except CPU and motherboard, so feel pretty comfortable about the process.

What PC will be used for:

1) Software development - Visual Studio 2008/2010, SQL Server 2008, etc

2) Browsing, email

3) Possibly light photo processing.

Not interested in gaming/SLI or extreme overclocking. I have a preference for quiet system and willing to pay more for the better components.

This is the build I came up with (open for suggestions) :
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...


Intel Core i7-875K Lynnfield 2.93GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor BX80605I7875K

Why this CPU: didn't feel that I need anything in 1366 socket and in 1156 this seems to be the best

ZALMAN CNPS9900 NT 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

Why this cooler: there were no posts that it is difficult to install

ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Why this motherboard: it has all modern connectivity options (USB 3, SATA 6 GB/S, e-SATA and 1394). I am concerned with a lot of one start reviews but it seems all motherboards have them.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

Why this memory: because someone reported it working with motherboard I've chosen.

SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Why this power supply: 5 stars average review, quiet

LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Why this case: I don't like flashy design with case windows and neon lights. This looks good. I am willing to spend more for a case of similar design if it is better but don't think I need full tower, so please suggest other models - the choice is overwhelming.

Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Why this drive: had a good luck with Seagate.

EVGA 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Why this card: good reviews, reported quiet, enough for my needs (2 DVI connectors).

LITE-ON Blu-ray Burner with 3D Playback SATA iHBS212 LightScribe

Why this drive: they are all the same. Is there a need for second Blu-ray drive?

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

I think this covers everything.

QUESTIONS:

Will cooler I selected fit in the case I picked?

Will motherboard control all the fans automatically? I don't want to deal with manual fan adjustment at all if possible

Did I miss something? Do I need some extra case fans?

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December 27, 2010 5:29:01 PM
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I'll start with your questions, then correct some issues with the build (or better uses of the money at least).

1.) The HSF should fit in the case.

2.) It depends. The motherboard will control the CPU fan, and if you plug in all the case fans into the motherboard, it could control them too. Or you could just plug them directly into the PSU and leave them turned down all the time. Not every board will be able to support case fans, and you shouldn't plug more than a couple into a slot.

3.) No, but you don't need SATA cables. The board will come with several (usually 4).

On to my issues with your build:

CPU: The "K" series of CPUs are a massive waste of money. Consider this: instead of spending $320 on the "unlocked" i7-8xx, you could spend $25 less on the i7-950 (granted the board is more), which is a more powerful CPU overall. Either upgrade to the LGA1366 (the i7-9xx) or downgrade to the i7-8xx non-unlocked versions. There is no benefit to be had for the massive extra costs, especially since you're not overclocking. The benefit of the "K" series is the unlocked multiplier, which will only make overclocking easier. There's nothing saying that you can get a higher overclock, so why pay more for the exact same chip with a feature you're not going to use?

If you go the LGA1366 route (which I think you should), you'll need a different board. The ASRock X58 Extreme 3 is a good budget board at $190 or the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R is one of the best available at $200. You'll also need triple channel RAM (three sticks), so I'd get a good 1600 mhz CL 7 set. These Mushkin Enhanced Silverline sticks are decent at roughly the same price of the RAM you're buying.

HSF: Expensive, and not that great. Either get the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100) for $35 less or the Noctua NH-D14 for $10 more. The Scythe would be just as good, but cheaper, and the Noctua is the best out there. Since you're not planning on overclocking, I'd go with the Scythe just to save money.

HDD: I wouldn't touch that Seagate HDD. Instead, pick up two Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB drives for $140 and run them in RAID 0. They'll be massively faster, more reliable and cheaper. Remember, SATA III won't do anything for standard HDDs, other than inflate the price.

PSU: I like the choice, but the size is a bit wrong. If you're not overclocking, and you're not planning on SLI, you could easily drop that down to a 450-550W model. You'll sacrifice a little efficiency, but you're already wasting that by runnning the unit drastically under capacity. You'll save a great deal of money with the smaller unit too. Definitely stick to PSUs from Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic, and Silverstone to ensure getting a quality unit.

GPU: Not too bad of a choice, but I'd step up to the 1 GB version. The prices aren't that different, and it's a lot more powerful. For example, this EVGA 1 GB 460 is the same price as the 768 MB version after the rebate. Generally, the brand doesn't make a huge difference, so get one on the cheaper end.

Optical: Do you actually need a BluRay drive? They're pretty pricey, especially when DVD burners can be had for under $20. I generally don't recommend them because there is very little reason to have one in a computer right now. Instead, save the money and wait for a computer specific use to develop and the prices to fall. You can easily stick one in later.

Finally, something to keep in mind through all of this is that Sandy Bridge is coming very soon. That means that all current Intel CPUs will be obsolete in a matter of a few weeks (possibly less). Wait for the release. Either the new CPUs (and sockets) will be massively better for roughly the same price, or the older CPUs will be a lot cheaper. Either way, it's a good thing.
December 27, 2010 6:05:48 PM

MadAdmiral: I appreciate your response and suggestions. However, why is Sandy Bridge massively better than current offering? Assuming you use separate graphics card integrated graphics becomes irrelevant. If I read Sandy Bridge benchmark at Anandtech right it promises 10-15% speed improvement which is not Earth-Shuttering IMO
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December 27, 2010 6:25:45 PM

The reason is that the CPUs will be faster. It's got nothing to do with the integrated graphics. In all liklihood, the new Intel CPUs will come into the market at close to the same prices as what's out there. You'd be getting a 10-15% speed bump for roughly the same price. Why spend $200-300 on a slower CPU now, when you could wait a couple of weeks and spend $200-300 on a faster CPU? Worst case, the new CPUs come out and push the prices on the older units down. Then you'd be paying less for the exact same thing.

I'm not saying you should wait and buy Sandy Bridge. Until the CPUs are throughly tested, and a price is established, I'm not going to recommend them. I'm just saying you should wait to see what happends. There are essenitally two outcomes: 1.) Sandy Bridge enters the market at relatively equivalent prices as now (with higher performance) and the current CPUs' prices fall OR 2.) Sandy Bridge enters the market at a higher price (with higher performance) and the older CPUs' prices fall. Either way, you benefit through higher performance at the same price or the same performance at a lower cost.

I should also mention that a 10-15% speed increase makes a farily huge difference. It's pretty massive actually. That's like the difference between a CPU that isn't overclocked and the same one that's on the edge of instability. Just you'd get all that extra speed without the extra heat, added power draw and the instability.

Oh, by the way, that 10% is only comparing clock to clock. Acutal performance is more like 20%. I quote from Anandtech's preview: "If Intel's roadmap and pricing hold true, then the Core i5 2400 should give you an average of 23% better performance than the Core i5 760 ... Keep in mind that this analysis was done without a functional turbo mode, so the shipping Sandy Bridge CPUs should be even quicker. I'd estimate you can add another 3 - 7% to these numbers for the final chips." To total that up, that's around a 30% performance boost in a single generation, which is insane.

The article also mentions that this makes the new i5s (without hyperthreading) perform as well as the i7-8xx (with hyperthreading). That's essentially creating an extra 4 threads. Imagine the gains you'll get once you add hyperthreading to that.
December 27, 2010 6:31:41 PM

MadAdmiral: can you elaborate why i7-950 is more powerful than 875K? Speed is about the same and cache is the same. I haven't really kept up with details on this.
December 27, 2010 6:43:23 PM

I don't know what specifically makes the 950 faster, I just know it is. I suppose it has something to do with the different chipset or triple channel RAM, but I'm just guessing. Specs rarely tell the whole story, but I just don't know exactly what makes the 950 better. I just know that it is faster because of the benchmarks (check out the Charts section at the top of the page for some good data). The difference between the chips isn't huge, but the 950 is undeniably faster on average and cheaper.
January 2, 2011 10:59:42 PM

Best answer selected by JoeSchmoe007.
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